I recently changed my car. It was a decision I have been slowly making over the last year. My car was over 11 years old and I had always promised myself a new car every ten years. I had worked hard and saved for it during those 11 years. I knew the time would come. This year would be that time. I kept telling myself.
I had just about made peace with my decision, but still felt troubled by the decision. It finally struck me that my difficulty was around letting go of an object that had been with me through the 10 most difficult years of my life: My constant, unfailing, un-grumbling companion through great days, amazing days and some very, very dark days.
This sounds crazy doesn’t it? It’s a ton of metal with a great heating and sound system. A functional item taking me and my belongings on all my journeys. I realised that changing the car was the end of an era. An era during which I had taken my mother to hospital, watched her die, then dealt with my father’s illness and subsequent death, redundancy, starting a company, divorce and finally a heap of happiness.
My car was the biggest item still left from a time that I have mostly been trying to get over and let go of.
My car was with me when I visited amazing places, witnessed beautiful events, and cried my eyes out with grief and anger. My car listened to me without complaint as I ranted, raved, sobbed and sang. Sang a lot. Like the friend who is always there for you but you don’t speak to every day, my car was there for me. Bonkers.
The need to change my car came as I realised it was going to need some major work on it. So I took the plunge and went looking for a replacement. I initially even felt bad discussing my new car whilst driving the old one. I confess I had a conversation with my old car about the need to change it, and what good times we had had together. Bonkers
Having chosen my next car I spoke to the salesman about how people react when they hand over the keys to their old car. He confirmed that for some people it is a big wrench – almost like saying goodbye to a member of the family or close friend. The longer they had had the car, the harder it seemed to be. I didn’t confess to him that I had worried about handover day, but at least I knew it wasn’t just me.
When I went to pick up my new car I was nervous. Had I made the right decision? Would the new one be right for me? As soon as I saw it sitting there gleaming away I knew it was right. I said a proper goodbye to my old car and collected my new one.
The drive home was weird (new car, handled differently, lots of gadgets to get to grips with, worried about the paintwork etc), but overall it felt ok. I had a brief twinge of abandoning the old one.
Now a few weeks on I know I made the right decision. My new car has the feeling of my old reliable friend and hasn’t complained about my singing once.
Here’s to the next ten years my new friend.